In our latest guest blog on SportsInjuryFix.com experienced endurance athlete Matthew Dawes gives us his tips for how to go long, have fun and avoid injury:
I've been lucky. Over the last 10 yrs I've completed 22 Ironman triathlons (including the World Championships in Hawaii), the Marathon des Sables and a few marathons. Some were fast, some slow but I've loved every one. Not always during, and not always on the finish line. But pretty soon afterwards...
In my spare time I have a full time job and a pre-school daughter.
Impossible to do all of that without "managing through" a few injuries. As I started with, I've been lucky and avoided anything serious. But I think I've also set about things sensibly.
My top tips:
1. Respect running. You can build your engine on the bike and swimming is great rehab. Don't try to "run through" injuries. I've had great races on very limited run training.
2. Value Rehab. Structured work to address injuries is a great focus and surprisingly hard work. I have taken stuff I like from rehab into my regular routine. Come back slowly, and stay back!
3. Strength & Conditioning - do it! This is not an optional extra. Just find a handful of exercises that work for you (target any specific weakness - I do a lot of ankle work...) and fit them in after other workouts.
4. Rest and time are the Great Healers. Not for everything, of course. But in my experience many niggles will go away if you allow yourself a little space. Unless you are an Olympic athlete, there IS always next year...
5. Enjoy your sport and make it an integral part of your normal life. Many people give up their lives to do an Ironman. You shouldn't! It almost certainly takes less training than you think. If you just weave in more exercise into your general routine, you're much more likely to carry on after "the Race". And if, horror of horrors, you do get injured, it's not the catastrophe it is for some.
Above all, just keep moving forward with a smile...